MONTEGO BAY — Twelve manually operated wheelchairs, in various sizes, were officially presented to the St. Ann's Bay Hospital on Wednesday August 24, courtesy of the Rotary Club of St. Andrew's wheelchairs project.
The wheelchairs are part of some 405 brought to Jamaica this year by the Rotary Club of St. Andrew, through the U.S.-based Rotarians Wheelchair Foundation. According to chairman of the St. Andrew club’s Wheelchair Committee and past president, Lloyd Eubanks-Green, they would normally cost $30,000 to $40,000 each, but can be obtained through the project for about $5,000.
The club has been distributing the wheelchairs for some 10 years, and has already handed over 1,700 valued at $68 million, to persons and institutions unable to pay the full costs.
Mr. Eubanks-Green explained that the Northeast Regional Health Authority (NEHRA) acquired the chairs for the St. Ann’s Bay Hospital, after Jamaica Money Market Brokers (JMMB) agreed to sponsor their request by paying the nominal $5,000 payment for each chair. The 12 chairs were presented at the hospital on Wednesday August 24.
“When we approached JMMB, they were really excited and happy to partner with us and were able to purchase 12 wheelchairs – six paediatric and six adult wheelchairs,” Acting Public Relations Officer of NEHRA, Shauna Gordon, explained at the presentation ceremony.
Mrs. Gordon thanked the Rotary Club of St. Andrew for the wheelchair programme, which she described as a “most welcomed gesture” for many Jamaicans unable to meet the costs.
JMMB's Retail and Commercial Lending Officer, Ocho Rios, Sophia Dawkins-Coombs, said the company was pleased to partner with NEHRA in donating the chairs to the hospital.
“I am sure they will go a far way in assisting the patients and, of course, we are keen about client care, so I know they will be beneficial to everyone,” Mrs. Coombs said.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at the St. Ann’s Bay Hospital, Keith Richards, described the gesture as timely.
“We have been having issues at the hospital, as it relates to the types of equipment that we utilize to transport patients and, what is unique about this donation is the fact that, the chairs come in different sizes, so we get to accommodate a wider array of patients and clients that visit the facility,” Mr. Richards said.
By Aldeen Campbell, JIS Reporter